ResearchBlogCast #11: Using the genome to identify species

ResearchBlogCast 16 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgHow do you define a species? Most people would probably say species are similar organisms that can reproduce sexually to produce viable offspring. But what about organisms that don’t reproduce sexually? Surely they have species too.

Today we’re discussing new research suggesting a different way to define species, using their genomes. It’s an intriguing study that also brings into question the concept of “species” itself.

Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles that have been covered by bloggers on ResearchBlogging.org to discuss in podcast form. This week, we’ve decided to try something a little different: we’ll also chat a bit about what’s going on in the science blogosphere.

As always, ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here is the article we’re discussing this week:

Birky, C., Adams, J., Gemmel, M., & Perry, J. (2010). Using Population Genetic Theory and DNA Sequences for Species Detection and Identification in Asexual Organisms PLoS ONE, 5 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010609

The report was discussed by Zen Faulkes on Marmorkrebs: Asexual species identifications.

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

ResearchBlogCast #10: Does being a little crazy make you more creative?

ResearchBlogCast 17 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgThroughout history we’ve seen examples of artists and others who, while possessing amazing talent, also don’t seem “normal.” Whether it be tormented artists like Vincent van Gogh, or the stereotype of the “mad scientist,” it often seems like a little schizophrenia might underlie amazing genius.

In fact, some psychological studies have found that schizophrenics do tend to be more creative than normal people. But is there a neurological basis for creativity?

Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles that have been covered by bloggers on ResearchBlogging.org to discuss in podcast form. Ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here is the article we’re discussing this week:

de Manzano, Ö., Cervenka, S., Karabanov, A., Farde, L., & Ullén, F. (2010). Thinking Outside a Less Intact Box: Thalamic Dopamine D2 Receptor Densities Are Negatively Related to Psychometric Creativity in Healthy Individuals PLoS ONE, 5 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010670

The report was discussed on several blogs:

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

ResearchBlogCast #9: Genetics, fertility, and disease

ResearchBlogCast 14 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgWhy would a deadly genetically-transmitted disease persist? Doesn’t “survival of the fittest” mean that any genetic mutation that causes premature death should quickly be extinguished? In the case of Cystic Fibrosis, the problem is even more dramatic, because CF causes infertility in men. How could this gene possibly survive? Yet it not only survives, it thrives, with as many as 1 in 30 Europeans carrying it.

This week, we discuss a study offering at least a partial explanation of how a gene like the one that causes CF can still exist after thousands of years.

Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles that have been covered by bloggers on ResearchBlogging.org to discuss in podcast form. Ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here is the article we’re discussing this week:

Kosova, G., Pickrell, J., Kelley, J., McArdle, P., Shuldiner, A., Abney, M., & Ober, C. (2010). The CFTR Met 470 Allele Is Associated with Lower Birth Rates in Fertile Men from a Population Isolate PLoS Genetics, 6 (6) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000974

Razib wrote about it on his blog Gene Expression:

The “how” of cystic fibrosis through the “why”

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

ResearchBlogCast #8: Protecting the Environment While Reducing Poverty

ResearchBlogCast 41 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgSome of the most bio-diverse areas of the world are also some of the most impoverished, which is why it can seem cruel to create national parks and other protected areas to preserve these ecosystems. Aren’t the human lives in those regions more important than plants or other animals? Some research has supported the idea that establishing protected areas for wild areas results in an unfair burden on the people who live there.

However, a recent study questions that notion. Perhaps the reason these areas are impoverished is unrelated to their “protected” status. Perhaps creating a nature preserve can actually help the people who live nearby.

Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles that have been covered by bloggers on ResearchBlogging.org to discuss in podcast form. Ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here is the article we’re discussing this week:

Andam, K., Ferraro, P., Sims, K., Healy, A., & Holland, M. (2010). Protected areas reduced poverty in Costa Rica and Thailand Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107 (22), 9996-10001 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914177107

Ed Yong wrote about it on his blog Not Exactly Rocket Science:

Protect biodiversity, alleviate poverty: the surprise benefits of protected areas

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

ResearchBlogCast #7: Why would we ever cooperate?

ResearchBlogCast 26 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgCooperation is seen not only in humans, but in societies formed by organisms from ants to baboons. But in many cases, it’s difficult to figure out why any individual would want to cooperate. Wouldn’t it be easier just to take what you want without doing any work? While cooperation is good for the group, why is it good for the individual? A new paper demonstrates how cooperation could be beneficial both to groups and individuals.

Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles that have been covered by bloggers on ResearchBlogging.org to discuss in podcast form. Ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here is the article we’re discussing this week:

Boyd, R., Gintis, H., & Bowles, S. (2010). Coordinated Punishment of Defectors Sustains Cooperation and Can Proliferate When Rare Science, 328 (5978), 617-620 DOI: 10.1126/science.1183665

Eric Michael Johnson wrote about it on his blog The Primate Diaries:

Punishing Cheaters Promotes the Evolution of Cooperation

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

ResearchBlogCast #6: Emotional Intelligence and Bullying, In Person and Online

ResearchBlogCast 11 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgCyber-bullying is a growing problem, but it’s so new that there’s not much research about it. So Krystal D’Costa begins her work studying cyber-bullying by considering what goes into real-world bullying.

Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles to discuss in podcast form. This week, while Kevin is on vacation, we’ve brought Krystal in to discuss her work. Ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here are the articles we’re discussing this week:

Mayer, J., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. (2004). TARGET ARTICLES: “Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Findings, and Implications” Psychological Inquiry, 15 (3), 197-215 DOI: 10.1207/s15327965pli1503_02

Snyder, J., Brooker, M., Patrick, M., Snyder, A., Schrepferman, L., & Stoolmiller, M. (2003). Observed Peer Victimization During Early Elementary School: Continuity, Growth, and Relation to Risk for Child Antisocial and Depressive Behavior Child Development, 74 (6), 1881-1898 DOI: 10.1046/j.1467-8624.2003.00644.x

Krystal wrote about it on her blog Anthropology in Practice:

Bullying and emotional intelligence on the web

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

ResearchBlogCast #5: A mathematical model for ecological impact

ResearchBlogCast 5 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgThere’s no denying that global warming will impose massive changes on the environment. But a recent paper suggests that the models ecologists typically use to assess the effects of environmental changes may be neglecting a key factor: The ability of organisms to adapt to the environment. What are the implications of incorporating the capacity for species to change when assessing the impact of global warming and other ecological change?

As we do each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I have chosen a journal article to discuss in podcast form. We make sure it’s an article that we or someone else has covered on their blog, so ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here’s the article we’re discussing this week:

Chevin, L., Lande, R., & Mace, G. (2010). Adaptation, Plasticity, and Extinction in a Changing Environment: Towards a Predictive Theory PLoS Biology, 8 (4) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000357

The article was blogged by Razib on Gene Expression:

Modeling the probabilities of extinction

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

 
 
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ResearchBlogCast #4: Fewer big fish in the sea

ResearchBlogCast 135 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgAs more and more commercial fishers compete for fewer and fewer fish, ecologists are beginning to explore the impact. What happens when all or most of the big fish are caught? Does the rest of the ecosystem somehow compensate?

As we do each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I have chosen a journal article to discuss in podcast form. We make sure it’s an article that we or someone else has covered on their blog, so ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here’s the article we’re discussing this week:

Shackell, N., Frank, K., Fisher, J., Petrie, B., & Leggett, W. (2009). Decline in top predator body size and changing climate alter trophic structure in an oceanic ecosystem Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277 (1686), 1353-1360 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1020

The article was blogged by Daniel Bassett on Fish Schooled:

Prey populations explode as predators get smaller

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

 
 
You can now subscribe to this podcast using iTunes. Just follow this link or search for “ResearchBlogCast” on iTunes.

ResearchBlogCast: Can changing diet improve real-world health?

ResearchBlogCast 15 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgEach week, Research Bloggers Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I will choose a journal article to discuss in podcast form. We’ll make sure it’s an article that we or someone else has covered on their blog, so ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here’s the article we’re discussing this week:

Fung, T., Chiuve, S., McCullough, M., Rexrode, K., Logroscino, G., & Hu, F. (2008). Adherence to a DASH-Style Diet and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Women Archives of Internal Medicine, 168 (7), 713-720 DOI: 10.1001/archinte.168.7.713

I wrote about the article on my blog last week:

Can diet be used to control high blood pressure long-term?

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 

 
 
You can now subscribe to this podcast using iTunes. Just follow this link or search for “ResearchBlogCast” on iTunes.

ResearchBlogCast: Milk tolerance among ancient “swedes”

ResearchBlogCast 3 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgEach week, Research Bloggers Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I will choose a journal article to discuss in podcast form. We’ll make sure it’s an article that we or someone else has covered on their blog, so ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here’s the article we’re discussing this week:

Malmstrom, H., Linderholm, A., Liden, K., Stora, J., Molnar, P., Holmlund, G., Jakobsson, M., & Gotherstrom, A. (2010). High frequency of lactose intolerance in a prehistoric hunter-gatherer population in northern Europe BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-89

You can find a discussion of the article on Razib’s blog:

Ancient “Swedes” were “lactose intolerant”

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.

ResearchBlogCast

 
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